restaurant staff training
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

Training your restaurant staff can be challenging if you don’t have comprehensive materials, a flexible training approach that you can adapt to a variety of situations, and an openness to listen to your employees.

Below, you will find a couple of quick tips on restaurant staff training that will help you optimize the process.

The Benefits of Staff Training in Restaurant

Increased efficiency

kitchen training checklist

A comprehensive restaurant staff training plan can help you streamline operations, better organize your staff, and increase the efficiency of your team.

A well-coordinated team knows their own responsibilities, as well as when they need to work together to achieve something faster.

When everyone is on top of their jobs, customers get their food on time, waiters can afford to engage with clients and answer questions, and the entire restaurant works better.

Read more: How to Manage Restaurant Staff Well: 9 Tips to Improve Efficiency

Higher staff retention

Restaurant staff won’t stick around if they don’t feel heard, respected, and valued. Taking the time to onboard and train your staff will motivate them to stay at their job longer.

Creating a restaurant employee training checklist that they can consult at a moment’s notice will increase efficiency, which in turn will lead to a lower turnover rate.

Ensure your training includes opportunities for advancement and branching out so that you promote from the inside, rather than hire from the outside.

Better customer service

kitchen training program

A team that works well together will be visible from the customer’s perspective as well. Good communication, and crucial steps of service, as well as upselling and cross-selling, are all elements of excellent customer service.

For example, restaurant server training should include menu knowledge. Every server should know the menu inside and out so they can answer any questions customers might have and be able to upsell and increase the average check value.

All of these elements work together to ensure customers feel welcomed at your restaurant and wish to return again and again.

Service and quality consistency

Restaurant staff training can help you maintain a consistent food and service quality. Creating standardized procedures and protocols for every aspect of your restaurant business will ensure a uniform brand that customers can easily recognize.

This promotes customer loyalty and helps you attract a group of regulars who come to your restaurant because they know what to expect and love it.

Improvising when it comes to cooking food or serving customers can lead to a drop in quality, which in turn can land you a negative review. To avoid that, come up with clear service and quality standards.

You might also like: How to Respond to Negative Restaurant Reviews to Increase Brand Loyalty

Improved health and safety

Finally, hospitality training topics must also include health and safety, since you are handling food, as well as potentially dangerous tools and substances.

For the health and safety of both your staff and customers, abide by local health and safety standards such as proper food handling and waste disposal.

As long as your staff is knowledgeable and diligent, you will pass all health and safety inspections with flying colors.

7 Ways to Ace Restaurant Staff Training

1. Be consistent and document everything

For your training sessions to run smoothly, you need to be prepared with training materials that document every aspect you want your staff to be familiar with. A written training manual, whether it’s printed or digital will serve as the base for all your trainings.

Documenting everything will make your job easier whenever you need to train someone new or have a refresher course. Provide your employees with access to the materials so they can also review them whenever they feel like they need to.

Consistency in your training is also vital for the success of your team. Training new employees once is not enough.

Training should be continuous, not only when you’ve made changes to your policies, but also when you’ve received feedback that can help you improve the way you do business.

2. Use role-playing to act out scenarios

The best way to commit something to memory is to experience it in a practical setting. In theory, your employees might know the training manual by heart, but are they ready to face real-world scenarios?

Use role-playing sessions to teach staff how to communicate better, practice their roles, and improve based on honest and constructive feedback from their peers.

You can also act out different scenarios that you’ve come across in the past, particularly difficult ones, such as how to deal with a rude customer. Your employees will be much more prepared in case something like this happens to them.

The best way to commit something to memory is to experience it in a practical setting. In theory, your employees might know the training manual by heart, but are they ready to face real-world scenarios? Essentially, scenario based training provides simulated situations mirroring real life to enhance experiential learning and problem-solving.

Use these role-playing scenarios to also teach staff how to use technology. For example, go through the process of accepting an online order and then ask your staff to do it too so they can see how easy it is.

Easy-to-use online ordering system with a simple order-taking app Empower your staff to accept orders in seconds without lengthy training

If they need a refresher on how to accept orders, you can show them this brief training video that they can access any time they want:

Consent needed

3. Focus on fostering teamwork during training sessions

fun restaurant training ideas

If you want your team to run like a well-oiled machine (who doesn’t?), you need to encourage and improve teamwork during your restaurant staff training sessions. A harmonious team is one of the marks of a great restaurant.

Remember that as a manager or restaurant owner, you need to lead by example, so show your team you’re open to communicating, answering questions, and receiving feedback.

Start each training session with a small team-building game designed to help people loosen up and get to know each other better. The closer they are, the better they’ll work together.

4. Update your training materials whenever you change the restaurant’s policy

Any change, no matter how small, must be recorded in your training manual as long as it affects your employees’ jobs or the way they interact with one another and with the customers.

Did you update your menu? You need to give employees a chance to test it out so they can accurately and knowledgeably talk about it with the customers. Did you change your review response strategy? Let the person in charge know and ensure the others are also aware of it.

Don’t put off training your staff. Do it whenever you make a change. This will keep the sessions brief, which employees will be grateful for.

5. Use shadowing and mentoring to help new employees learn from seasoned staff

restaurant staff training topics

Shadowing and mentoring are two proven tactics that are great for helping new staff get the lay of the land faster. Having someone you can rely on and go to for questions or concerns is a big deal for a new employee.

Seasoned employees just have to go about their day while also taking some time to explain what they’re doing to the trainee. Then, they reverse roles so that the experienced employee can observe the other at work.

When it comes to restaurant staff training tips, mentoring works similarly. Assigning mentors to new hires for a month or two after they’ve joined the team will help them integrate faster and help you retain more staff.

6. Be open to feedback from your staff

No matter how good of a restaurant manager you are, you can’t know everything and immediately adapt to every employee’s learning style. While some might be quick to learn everything in days, others will need more time, and that’s okay.

The important thing to do here is reassure your staff that your door is always open and that they can come to you with questions, concerns, or feedback related to restaurant staff training.

You should also consider distributing an anonymous survey to collect feedback on the training materials. That way, your employees will have an easier time being completely honest.

7. Allow your employees room to grow and evolve

One of the most sought-after employee benefits is the ability to advance at your place of employment. This is true of the restaurant industry as well. Maybe someone got hired as a server, but they aspire to become a chef. Support them in that endeavor and you’ll both win.

They will feel listened to and enjoy their job, while you will increase retention and not have to hire someone from the outside.

To make transitions between positions easier, consider cross-training so that every employee is also generally aware of the other employees’ responsibilities. That can also help you in case of an emergency when you might need an employee to fill in for another at short notice.

Final Thoughts

A comprehensive restaurant staff training manual and collaborative, honest training sessions can lead your team to success, and help you, as a restaurant owner, grow your business and improve customer service.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.